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Tamera Manzanares

Stories by Tamera

Northwest Colorado Health: Take advantage of help enrolling in health insurance

Finding health insurance can be confusing and complex, but you don’t have to tackle it alone. Free, in-person assistance is available to help you explore your options and find the right plan. The insurance marketplace, where many people will need to get or renew their health insurance for 2017, is not open long; you need to enroll by Dec. 15 to be covered at the beginning of the New Year.

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Northwest Colorado Health: Rubber Ducky Race returns Aug. 27

You’ve heard of the goose that laid the golden egg. How about the duck with the golden ticket? A $500 grand prize will be the big draw of the second annual Rubber Ducky Race for Hospice on Aug. 27 in Craig. The event, hosted by Northwest Colorado Health (formerly Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association) will include a total of $1,000 in cash prizes.

VNA: Programs help youth experiencing loss

Loss can take different forms, each carrying with it a heavy bundle of difficult emotions. It can be hard to express these emotions in a healthy way that helps a person grieve but does not consume their life, responsibilities and goals. This can be especially true for children and youth. That’s where art comes in. The Youth Resiliency program at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association uses creative expression — drawing, painting, writing, storytelling, poetry and music — to help preschool through college-age students process many different types of loss including death and divorce as well as loss related to family abuse, addiction and mental health issues.

VNA: Prevent cervical cancer with vaccinations, screenings

January, recognized as Cervical Health Awareness Month, is a good time to highlight measures that can be taken to prevent cervical cancer. Over the last 30 years, cervical cancer deaths have decreased 50 percent, largely due to more women getting regular cervical screenings or Pap tests, which can detect changes in the cervix before cancer develops. Despite these gains, cervical cancer remains a serious health threat. The American Cancer Society estimates nearly 13,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4,000 died from the disease in 2015.

VNA: Program helps women pay for mammograms

You’ve heard it, and you probably know it. Mammograms save lives. But what if you don’t have insurance – or enough insurance – to pay for breast screenings? The Women’s Wellness Connection helps ensure women who are 40 and older receive regular breast cancer screenings to catch any signs of the disease early, when chances of survival are highest. The program, offered through the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association in Moffat and Routt counties, also provides free cervical cancer screenings — Pap tests — to qualified women.

VNA: Weigh in on health needs in Moffat, Routt counties

It’s a rare day that we don’t think about our health, our family’s health or the wellbeing of others around us. Maybe you worry about diabetes, cancer or mental health or are concerned about how the economy, housing and other factors are influencing wellness in our communities. Residents of Moffat and Routt counties are encouraged to weigh in on these important issues by taking part in a Community Health Needs Assessment. The project seeks to answer an important and complicated question: What do our communities need to be healthier?

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Rubber Ducky Races in Craig, Steamboat celebrate community, hospice

On Saturday, hundreds of bright yellow rubber ducks will bob along the lazy Yampa River toward their destination at Loudy-Simpson Park. Tickets in hand, children, parents and community members will eagerly await, hoping their ducks make the speediest journey. The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is hosting the first annual Craig Rubber Ducky Race benefiting the organization’s Hospice and Palliative Care program. The fun family event and post-race party will be a celebration of community and the many people Hospice has touched in Moffat County.

VNA: Spit it out for good

Being free to enjoy life without the urge to dip is a good reason to quit chew. It’s also nice to smile for the camera without being self-conscious about stained teeth, mouth sores and receding gums. Perhaps even more persuasive are the cancers – oral, esophageal, stomach and pancreatic – that can occur from continually using smokeless tobacco.

Tamera Manzanares: Prevention key to men’s health

Guys: If you make it to 100, you will be surrounded by women.

Aging Well: Aging Well says goodbye to page

Today is the final day the Aging Well page will appear in the Steamboat Today. The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association introduced the page five years ago to promote its new Aging Well program, developed to improve the health of adults 50 and older in our region.

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Aging Well: Pedaling for fitness and fun

The advantages of living in a biking community — with clubs and advocacy organizations, bike shops, health professionals and experienced riders eager to help — make the sport less intimidating and more accessible to beginners interested in biking toward better health.

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Aging Well: More older adults stepping up, giving back

Every Wednesday, Virginia Elliott dons a pink button-down jacket and heads to The Memorial Hospital in Craig, where she takes flowers to patients, answers visitors’ questions and fills in where help is needed.

Aging Well: Prevent falls with simple changes

A dim hallway, a bit of frayed carpeting, a poorly placed piece of furniture: These details may present only small safety hazards in many households. But when a person has poor vision or balance or copes with other health challenges, the risk that seemingly harmless clutter or flaws within a home will cause that person to fall or injure themselves increases dramatically.

Aging Well: Simple practices can prevent foodborne illness

A group of 10 older adults brought plenty of cooking experience to the Haven Community Center during a lunchtime event. Even so, questions during “food safety bingo” stumped at least a few of them.

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Aging Well: Community Health Resource center helps people find accurate information

The Community Health Resource Center, located in a small office in Yampa Valley Medical Center, exists to help people build knowledge and sift through information surrounding a health topic.

Aging Well: Instructors empower others to feel better

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles about Aging Well fitness and wellness class instructors in Routt and Moffat counties. This feature appears once per month on the Aging Well page. This week features Kathy Shea and Annette Zuber.

Aging Well: Conference highlights caregiver resources, support

Living in the Yampa Valley, we accept many things, including long winters, delayed springs and limited services to help us through difficult times. The challenges of living in geographically-isolated communities can be particularly hard on the elderly, people with health problems and, especially, family members who care for these individuals.

Aging Well: Doctor shares tai chi experience, benefits

It was only a matter of time before tai chi played a starring role in Pam Kircher’s life. A family physician, Kircher has spent much of her career exploring complementary medicine, such as herbal remedies, acupuncture and massage, that contribute to health and wellness. While working at Mercy Medical Center in Durango, Kircher had the opportunity to attend a weekend tai chi workshop with Dr. Paul Lam, an Australian doctor who developed a modified tai chi program for people with arthritis, balance problems and other health challenges.

Aging Well: Understanding Medicare prescription drug coverage

Costs of medications can pile up quickly; correct information and good choices are vital

Prescription medicine is a routine part of many older adults’ lives, and the costs of these medications add up quickly. Understanding Medicare prescription drug coverage can help older adults make the right choices and choose plans that will save them the most money. The following information outlines important points about Medicare Part D for prescription drug coverage.

Aging Well: Make fruits and vegetables a priority

The message from health organizations about eating fruits and vegetables is straightforward: More, more, more. Americans are not getting enough nutrient and fiber-rich produce, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Aging Well: Caregivers help with nonmedical needs

An illness, injury or disability can seriously affect a person’s emotional well-being. While contending with challenges of daily living, they often grieve loss of independence and fear moving into a long-term care facility. Regular visits from a compassionate helper and friend can make all the difference for a person in this situation.

Aging Well: Instructors set example of lifelong fitness

This is part of a series of profiles about Aging Well fitness and wellness class instructors in Routt and Moffat counties. This feature appears once per month on the Aging Well page.

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Aging Well: Centennial seniors tell timeless stories

As a child, Anna Wichern would gather with other children outside the swinging doors of a New York City saloon to steal a peek at the patrons. That is, before a policeman tapped their little shoes with his baton and told them to skedaddle. Childhood memories shine bright for Wichern, who will celebrate her 100th birthday in June. Wichern fondly recalls her happy upbringing and close-knit family, which eventually brought her to Steamboat Springs.

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Aging Well: Exercise improves Parkinson’s symptoms

There are many unanswered questions about Parkinson’s disease. Some, such as what causes the condition in the first place, are troubling. Others, such as why exercise improves lives of people coping with the disease, are more optimistic.

Aging Well: Be responsible by preparing for emergencies

Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes — hardly a month goes by without news of catastrophic events pummeling their way into people’s everyday lives. Being prepared for an evacuation or emergency situation is practical, but knowing how to prepare isn’t quite so straightforward.

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Aging Well: Tai Chi for Osteoporosis targets balance, strength

People come through the doors for different reasons. Some have fallen and hope tai chi will make them stronger. Others are looking for a renewed sense of calm through life’s trials. Whatever the reason, Susan Shoemaker is glad to see them in her Aging Well Tai Chi for Health class.

Aging Well: Medicare Parts A and B — Know the basics

Understanding Medicare is like tackling a Colorado 14er: Taking the process step by step is much easier than analyzing the whole mountain at once. Medicare is a health insurance program mostly for adults 65 and older. Having a firm grasp of program basics will make it easier for a person to take advantage of benefits when they are eligible, avoid penalties and adjust their Medicare options.

Aging Well: Music benefits older adults as therapy, entertainment

Music’s ability to reach us on a deep, emotional level has long fascinated scientists. Some therapies use music to help individuals experiencing or recovering from challenges including autism, Alzheimer’s disease, grief, chronic pain, stroke and depression.

Aging Well: Grandparents’ support important to kids with autism

When Lu Etta Loeber’s grandson Henry was diagnosed with severe autism 12 years ago, her initial shock ebbed into fear, worry and denial. Today, Loeber is a strong advocate for her grandson and other families of people with autism and, with time, patience and dedication, she has forged a bond with Henry that, though not typical, is no less special.

Aging Well: Smiles and success highlight instructors’ experience

This is part of an ongoing series of profiles about Aging Well fitness and wellness class instructors in Routt and Moffat counties. This feature appears monthly on the Aging Well page

Aging Well: Help available for sleep struggles

It’s easy to take sleep for granted, that is, until zzzzz’s are replaced with restlessness, tossing and turning and daytime exhaustion. While the occasional poor night’s sleep is inconvenient, chronic sleep disruption can significantly affect people’s quality of life, making it difficult for them to concentrate and cope with stress, increasing their risk of accidents and illness and exacerbating underlying health conditions.

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Aging Well: Strengthening grandparent-grandchild bonds

Flowers, candy and marketing aside, Valentine’s Day is a time to think about those we love and, perhaps, relationships we’d like to make stronger. The bond between a grandchild and their grandparent is one that, with time and attention, rewards the child and adult.

Aging Well: Doing better when stress hits

Identifying and reducing burdens while making positive, long-term choices essential

In the story of the three little pigs, one pig builds an abode strong enough to resist the wolf’s wrath. The pig’s willingness to look at the problem wolf and prepare makes the difference in the story and, as it turns out, can make a difference in our lives when it comes to stress. Stress management “is the extent to which we are able to identify what real demands we are likely to face and if we are willing to start developing resources for that,” said Tom Traynor, a Steamboat Springs psychologist who conducts stress management workshops.

Aging Well: Downsizing doesn’t have to be daunting

Downsizing is a process we undertake, to various degrees, throughout our lives. Still, as we age, we seem to accumulate more stuff while growing more attached to items that have accompanied us throughout the years. Inevitably, a person must dramatically pare down all belongings to accommodate smaller, more convenient living quarters or a simpler lifestyle.

Aging Well: Community spelling bee to highlight senior programs

Event to benefit Routt County Council on Aging, city senior programs and Aging Well

It’s nice to know that some things hardly change. Long ago, neighbors held spelling contests to pass the time and test their intellects. Americans today may have spell check (and a lot of distractions), but their fever for linguistic smarts continues to take root in old-fashioned spelling bees held regularly in schools and communities.

Aging Well: Instructors help pave way for better health

Nancy Smith, Mary Morris starting classes to help treat chronic conditions

This is part of a series of profiles about Aging Well fitness and wellness class instructors in Routt and Moffat counties. This feature includes Healthier Living Colorado instructors Nancy Smith in Routt County and Mary Morris in Moffat County.

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Aging Well: Easy gift ideas for older family, friends

Older relatives and friends may present a challenge when it comes to buying gifts. After all, most have downsized to smaller living spaces and typically don’t need more things. Often, the best gift a person can give an older adult is to spend time with that person. Still, families and friends like to bring tokens of their affection when they visit, or to send a little something to let someone know they are in their thoughts. Like anyone, older adults appreciate items that are useful, engaging or meaningful.

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Aging Well

Caring for a spouse, parent or loved one is demanding any time of year but can be even more so during the holidays. To-do lists grow longer, and emotions including feelings of isolation and sadness about life’s changes seem particularly amplified during a season wrought with expectation.

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Aging Well: Calendar Journal offers motivation for all

It was a windy spring day when Nancy Smith and two of her Tai Chi students practiced their art barefoot in the park as traffic whizzed nearby. It wasn’t an ideal setting for Tai Chi, but in a sense, that was the point — for the women to break out of their comfort zone just a bit while still enjoying themselves in the process.

Aging Well: Program empowers spirit during loss, change

Creative Expressions uses artistic activities to help individuals through tough times

Everywhere we go, we carry beliefs that help us navigate the twists and turns of everyday life. Sometimes, however, our unconscious beliefs actually inhibit our ability to grow through adversity. During times of loss, grief and change, especially, embedded assumptions can build a conceptual jail around us, preventing us from exploring the difficulty of change in a way that also helps us see hope and possibilities in the future.

Aging Well: Finding peace in family gatherings, strained relationships

Thanksgiving is approaching, and families soon will be gathering in warm settings — content, at peace and immersed in the joy of the occasion. Unfortunately, this is not reality for most families. Whether it’s squabbles or sarcasm, feigned happiness or empty seats at the dinner table, Thanksgiving and the holidays often highlight tension and conflicts.

Aging Well: Aging field offers growing career options

Increasing number of seniors fuels demand for wellness teachers, social workers and more

Many people assume working with older adults means having medical experience. Although there is an increasing need for health care professionals skilled in aging issues, the growing number of adults ages 50 and older also is fueling demand for people to work with, or on behalf of, older adults in many other settings and roles.

Aging Well: Program provides free help with Medicare

If Betsy Packer wore a Halloween costume, it might be that of a super hero with a large “M” emblazoned on the cape. Packer is the Northwest Colorado coordinator for SHIP — the Colorado Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program. She provides free counseling to older adults overwhelmed and confused by Medicare.

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Aging Well: Health fair offers array of services

So you forgot to sign up for the early blood draw and can’t make it to the Community Health Fair later this month. Or you prefer to avoid crowds. Whatever the reason, if you’re 60 or older, there is another opportunity for you to take advantage of low cost blood tests and other services and information for older adults.

Aging Well: Make fruits and vegetables a priority

The message from health organizations about eating fruits and vegetables is straightforward: more, more, more. Americans are not getting enough nutrient and fiber-rich produce, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Aging Well: Taking control of cholesterol

It’s difficult to talk about cardiovascular disease without talking about cholesterol. Cholesterol is a major controllable risk factor of heart disease, the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S.

Aging Well: New strategies, support compensate for low vision

Most of us take our eyesight for granted, not realizing that someday it might not be so easy to read, write, drive or recognize familiar faces. Although normal aging of the eye does not cause low vision, diseases that impair vision are more common among older adults.

Aging Well: Workshop, resources help ease caregiving

There is no way to fully prepare for the challenge of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Most jobs come with training, but caregiving — and the many roles and responsibilities that come with it — often is unexpected and overwhelming.

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Aging Well: Strength exercise yields essential benefits

It’s a bright summer morning at Colorado Mountain College, and the campus weight room is bustling with activity. There, students in a basic weight training class — their ages ranging from 20 to 60 and older — go about their routines, pushing themselves toward stronger bodies and minds.

Aging well: Disability awareness highlights challenges, opportunities

As the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities act approaches, it’s a good time to think about challenges facing people with disabilities or, taking awareness one step further, to imagine having a disability.